- Jeremy looks at the an updated version of the classic Jensen Interceptor.
- Jeremy power tests the Lotus T125.
- The boys use second-hand military equipment to demolish a row of derelict houses.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Bob Geldof.
The episode begins with Jeremy talking about 70’s detective television shows and the cars that the heroes would drive – none of them featured the Jensen Interceptor. Jeremy thinks there is a very good reason for that. The Interceptor looked fantastic, but people who simply didn’t care built it very badly. Jeremy explains, “Let me give you one example. When the people on the Jensen production line need a new steering rack, they’d go to the steering rack factory and buy one. Often without bothering to check what car it was for. Some Interceptors were apparently sold fitted with steering racks designed for the Triumph Stag”. However, now there is a small company in England that can take an old Interceptor and update it for you, so it actually works. They do this by replacing the old Chrysler V8 with a 6.2L V8 from a Corvette, and by modernising the rear suspension and brakes. One thing that remains untouched however, is the styling. It still looks fantastic and Jeremy thinks it has the best name ever given to a car – “Interceptor”. Jeremy continues, “And unlike that modern day E-Type we looked at the other day, this doesn’t cost £500,000. This is £112,000. I know that’s a lot if you’re on benefits, but its not a lot if you’re on Elton John – I mean if you are Elton John”. Thanks to the 429bhp LS3 V8, it’ll do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and go all the way up to 167mph. There are some features of the car that Jeremy doesn’t like – such as the pathetic air-conditioning, windscreen wipers and vague steering. However, he does like the black and white gauges – which “you tap when they give you bad news, and then they tell you good news” – the floor mounted headlight dim switch and the AM radio. Jeremy calls the Interceptor a Grand Tourer and also feels as if it functions like a time machine – and that it’s 1972 and he’s the star of a 70’s detective show. James and Richard then join him and they put together an Interceptor tribute show. A title sequence film with lots of action, girls and karate chops is shown.
In the news, Richard shows us a new flying car, which looks a plane when it is flying, but looks like a plane wreck when it folds up and drives on the road. Jeremy shows us the new SSC Tuatara – a rival to the Bugatti Veyron and Pagani Huayra. The £43,000 Aston Martin Cygnet and Colette is also announced, and Jeremy shows us some photos of “Bird Dirt” on cars, which viewers had sent in.
In the next segment, Jeremy looks at the new Lotus T125 – a track car which is as close to Formula 1 as you will ever get. While it strictly isn’t an F1 car, it comes with a 640bhp Cosworth V8, a sequential gearbox, full down force, a hand operated clutch and all the other F1 style trimmings. Included in the price is a personal fitness trainer, chef and race team who will accompany you to any racetrack in the world. A transport truck is also included, along with driver training with former F1 driver Jean Alesi. Jean helps Jeremy get set up in the car – and immediately runs into a problem. Because Jeremy is so big and the seat had been set up for Jean, it had to be removed entirely and replaced with special foam for Jeremy to sit on. As he is being fitted up, Jeremy asks Jean just how close the T125 is to an F1 car – he replies that it is faster than a 90’s F1 car and has more down force than the F1 cars of today. Jeremy rolls out on to the track and is immediately shocked by the sheer acceleration and handling characteristics of the car, firstly describing it as “horrible” and not liking it. Jeremy explains the problem, “I’ve driven a car which has got this much power before, and I’ve driven a car on slicks before, and I’ve driven a car that weighs as little as this before. But I’ve never driven a car that has all of those things together”. Jeremy jumps into his AMG Mercedes and further explains the problem, “My mind tells me that its okay to turn into the ‘follow through’ at 90mph. The thing is though, in the Lotus, I have to tell my mind its okay to go through that corner at 160mph”. The brake zones are completely different too. To brake for ‘Hammerhead’ in his AMG Mercedes, Jeremy would usually start to brake at 140metres out. If you started braking in the Lotus at the same point, you’d come to a dead stop and still be 60 metres away from the turn. To take the turn properly, Jeremy would have to pass his braking point at full throttle – and keep it at full until around 60 metres out from the corner. Jeremy thinks he “hasn’t got the balls” to do it.
To compare, the Stig is sent out to do a lap of the Top Gear short circuit in an Arial Atom V8. He returns a time of 36.2 seconds – a time that Jeremy will try to beat in the T125. As the track curfew approaches, Jeremy eventually manages 35.8 seconds. Back in the studio, it is revealed that bad weather prevented the Stig from doing a dry power lap in the T125 – and that it will be attempted before the next show.
Next, Jeremy introduces Bob Geldof as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Bob manages an average 1:48.10 on a dry track.
In the next segment, the boys accept a challenge from the world demolition champions – that they could knock down a row of houses faster than what TopGear could manage. After a bit of practice knocking down a house in Albania, the boys decide that they need more than the usual digger / bulldozer / jackhammer crane. They go to the Witham Army disposal yard in Lincolnshire and look around for suitable vehicles. Numerous tanks, Helicopters, Land Rovers and a Harrier jump jet. Eventually, they each select a vehicle and join up to show them off. Richard went for a 434 armored recovery vehicle which has its own crane, and weighs 15 tonnes. James selected a C.E.T – Combat Engineering Tractor – which has a large bucket on the front. Jeremy on the other hand, went for a UN spec Armtrac 400 mine sweeping vehicle – which has a large rotating assembly on the front, which he thinks could carve through houses. Jeremy proclaims that “Princess Diana had one of these!”
Eventually, they all arrive at an old housing estate in Kent – and each team would have to knock down six houses. The boys would be going up a professional demolition team – using professional demolition equipment. Since there were 6 houses, they decide to take two each and they set to work as the start siren blows. Jeremy tries his rotary blade and demolishes a brick lavatory, before getting out and showing off the giant remote control, which came with his vehicle. Richard’s recovery vehicle came with a harpoon, which he decided to fire over the roof of the building and then pull it back, hopefully dragging the roof off with it. This fails completely. James decides to pull the central column out of the building, using a wire cable attached to the back of his C.E.T – and to a degree this works. After some time, the end siren blows and we discover that the professionals had in fact finished, while most of Top Gear’s houses were left standing.
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car